the Joint Chiefs
By the time they joined forces in 1995, Eliot Osborn, Louise Lindenmeyr, and George Potts were already in command of their distinctly different musical personas: Mr. Osborn, a grumbling singer/songwriter of the John Hiatt kind, Ms. Lindenmeyr, a backwoods Ricky Lee / Norah Jones, and Mr. Potts, a powerfully clear tenor with a Lyle Lovett-like affection for fat free arrangements. Without really thinking about being a band, the three began to sing and play as one in a living room, wrapping themselves around " great songs… the kind that are so well written they are able to transcend the style in which they were originally conceived." Intrigued by what they heard, they billed themselves as the Joint Chiefs " because it created such a humorous uplink while placing us on equal footing" and headed out into the local watering holes. Over the next few years, the Chiefs expanded their domain, becoming somewhat of a regional phenomenon while marshaling an audience drawn to what Michael Eck of WAMC termed " their tight harmonies and loose attitude ".
Two critically acclaimed CD’s (“it matches your juice“ in 2000 and “Half Fast” in 2004) resulted in radio airplay on alternative stations around New England. Appearances at New Haven's Arts and Ideas Festival, Winterhawk Bluegrass and Beyond, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival and shows with Rodney Crowell and Eliza Gilkinson ensued. Invitations to perform live on the radio (WAMC, WKZE, WHDD, WERU) kept trickling in and in Osborn’s opinion, “the band couldn’t avoid realizing that we were experiencing something all musicians hope for…. all on its own, our music was rippling outward. ”
Following a tour of Morocco in 2009, the current line up took shape when percussionist Diana Herold became the fourth Chief in 2010. “Diana’s musicianship boosted us into a different stratosphere” Lindenmeyr reflects. “It took some doing… we had to restructure who was doing what and when, but all four of us are ecstatic with the results.” Now “fully joined” as a quartet, the Joint Chiefs have taken aim at playing house concerts and “listening rooms” around New England. Twenty-four years on, they sound less like a song swap and more like a band with a shifting focal point. Their music infuses an acoustic dynamic with a delivery that rocks. Over a smoldering instrumentation that weaves percussive underpinnings with guitar, mandolin, button box accordion, and bass, the Chiefs unleash an acrobatic vocal awareness that soars high above it. While in flight, the three lead vocalists take turn driving... swooping and diving across a song scape that dovetails their own writing with "chestnuts" by a diverse group of well known artists… Allison Krauss, the Maguire Sisters, Michael Jackson, and The Subdudes to name a few.
With the January 2018 release of their much anticipated "live in the studio cd", Sending Up A Flare - recorded in New York with veteran engineer John Kilgore - the Joint Chiefs are now poised to share their music with a wider audience, and to build on the loyal following they have established over the past 2+ decades.
"We're excited about our own writing", Potts explains, "but more than performing FOR an audience, we want to connect WITH them. That requires stepping outside the gospel according to us now and then and referencing something familiar to everyone in the room. With us… it’s all about the song… always. Just don't be surprised ", he adds with a mischievous grin, " when your favorite R & B standard suddenly sounds like an Appalachian waltz. "